Undergraduate Honors Thesis Projects

Date of Award


Document Type

Honors Project

Degree Name

Equine Pre-Veterinary/Pre-Graduate Studies-BS


Equine Science


Dr. Sheri Birmingham

First Committee Member

Dr. Sheri Birmingham

Second Committee Member

Dr. Jeffrey Lehman

Third Committee Member

Dr. John Tansey


Equine, Whole Body Vibration, Back Soreness

Subject Categories

Animal Sciences | Higher Education | Large or Food Animal and Equine Medicine


Whole body vibrational therapy (WBV) is well-studied in people, but there is a paucity of research of its effect on horses. It is suggested that WBV use in horses increases performance, aids in recovery, and stimulates nerves, bones, and muscles in ways that normal exercise does not. The purpose of this pilot study was to determine if frequent WBV therapy sessions affect back soreness in horses using pressure algometry. Most sporthorses will experience back soreness in their careers, and it is regarded as one of the most common causes of poor performance in equine athletes. Five horses were measured for mechanical nociceptive thresholds at 8 points along their backs once every 7 days for 8 weeks. Baseline pain scores were established over the first 4 weeks. During the second 4-week period, horses received 5, 30-minute vibration therapy sessions per week. Despite previous research indicating that WBV increases epaxial muscle symmetry in horses, no significant difference was noted between the subjects’ average pain thresholds during the baseline period and the trial period. Upon further investigation of the change in sensitivity at the individual sites, 4 out of the 8 sites did show a 0.5-1 kgf difference. This suggests that with further study WBV may increase average pain thresholds. Further experimentation is required to assess whether this difference is biologically meaningful.

Licensing Permission

Copyright, all rights reserved. Fair Use

Acknowledgement 1


Acknowledgement 2